Thursday, January 26, 2012


We make the world a better place by presenting ourselves, even to strangers, in a friendly manner. Two contrasting encounters on our visit to Abu Dhabi proved that truth. My wife and I were heading to a bus stop one morning, when a lady with a white head cover, approached us with a big smile. We’d never seen her before. And in Abu Dhabi, the local women never initiate conversation with outsiders. When she got to us she greeted us in broken English, embraced my wife and shook hands with me, seeming to admire us and welcomed us. She offered that she was from Indonesia. And we told her about our numerous trips to Bali to help a church. She kept smiling and wished us well.

     Set that experience beside a brush with rudeness at the Frankfurt airport. This was not a local German individual. I was lined up to pay for my coffee at McDonalds, when a young, scruffy-bearded young man stepped right in front of me to get to the teller. He never said a word, just pushed in. When I reminded him I was already in line, he scowled and reluctantly stepped back. The cold way he responded gave me an uneasy feeling. I even wondered if there might be something malicious about him.

     After meeting the woman, we hoped we could meet her again. And I wish I could always meet strangers with such care and interest. After meeting the young man, I rather wished I never had to encounter him again, except to try to help him reconsider his selfishness.

     The first encounter made us feel we perhaps had met an angel sent by God. The second one I thought I saw again later, at Heathrow Airport, leaning against a glass wall, watching me, expressionless. Hope I never meet him alone.

     I like to live in the world represented by the smiling, caring woman.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Maybe we could have empathy like this dog 
Lucky, a Golden Retriever, had the habit of storing all toys in the house and ones visitors might leave, in his downstairs dog bed. Whenever a visitor might call about an item left while at the house, Mary always knew where to look.

     It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this fact; she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her....what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked the husband, Jim, Lucky was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

     The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

     Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.

     Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

     When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love.

     Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free.